Chora Prize

Lauren Bon and The Metabolic Studio has awarded the 2016 CHORA Prize to filmmaker, poet and cultural interlocutor Jonas Mekas, to honor his originality and cultural expression, and acknowledging his creation of contexts for the creativity of others, and spaces for discourses that have not existed before. The evolution of film history is unimaginable without Jonas Mekas’s creation, through his over fifty-year practice, of an axis for this creative field and its cultural appreciation. The term “chora” is ancient Greek for “vessel” and was used by Plato to refer to that which precedes realization, and its state of being more real than the thing itself.

Lithuanian-born Jonas Mekas has lived and worked in New York City since 1949 when the UN Refugee Organization secured transit for him and his brother Adolfas. Together with his brother, Jonas Mekas founded Film Culture magazine in 1954, which soon became the most influential film publication in the US. In 1958 he began his legendary ‘Movie Journal’ column in the Village Voice. In 1962 he founded the Film-Makers' Cooperative, and in 1964 the Film-Makers' Cinematheque, which eventually grew into Anthology Film Archives, one of the world's largest and most important repositories of avant-garde cinema, and a screening and events venue.

Jonas Mekas’s has written poetry and made films throughout his life.  He has published more than 20 books of prose and poetry, which have been translated into over a dozen languages. His Lithuanian poetry is now part of Lithuanian classic literature, and his films are held in the collections of museums around the world. He is largely credited for developing the diaristic forms of cinema, and in 2007, he completed a series of 365 short films released on the Internet—one film every dayand since then has continued to share new work on his website. Since 2000, Mekas has expanded his work into the area of film installations, exhibiting at the Serpentine Gallery, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; PS1, New York; Documenta, Kassel; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg; and the Venice Biennale.

Mekas' film The Brig was awarded the Grand Prize at the Venice Film Festival in 1963. Other films include Walden (1969); Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (1972); Lost Lost Lost (1975); Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol (1990); Scenes from the Life of George Maciunas (1992); As I was Moving Ahead I saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2000); Letter from Greenpoint (2005), Sleepless Nights Stories (2011) and Out-takes from the Life of a Happy Man (2012). Mekas has also been active as an academic, teaching at The New School, International Center for Photography, New York University, Cooper Union in New York, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The CHORA Prize has been previously awarded to the Detroit activist and philosopher Grace Lee Boggs (2014); Drew Cameron for the Combat Paper Project, an organization that conducts workshops around the country to teach military veterans how to make paper by hand from their old uniforms (2012); and Felicity Powell for her exhibition Medals of Dishonour (2009).

  • Metabolic Studio is pleased to announce we are producing a film from Suzanne Lacy's project De tu Puño y Letra. For more information click here.

  • The next Reimagine Everything Print workshop will be Thursday September 21 from 5-9 pm for anyone who would like to come silkscreen a shirt or paint a poster or protest image. Please RSVP to Our kitchen will be open for potluck sharing. Suggested donations appreciated in the form of used clothing for people to print on—and or some healthy food to share with whomever shows up to print that night.

  • Upcoming Exhibition at Mana Contemporary (A collaborative community bringing together art, dance and music under one roof), Jersey City, New Jersey. Artists Need To Create on the Same Scale that Society has the capacity to destory, on view October 2017–January 2018. For additional information, click here

  • The Optics Division will have two works included in a group show at Fresno Art Museum. The show is called California Nature, curated by Jay Belloli. The prints will be on view starting January 27 through June 10, 2018.

  • Two Optics Division prints [Hoosick: The Beyone Place 1 and Hoosick: The Beyond Place 2] have been commissioned by MASS MoCA and will be unveiled at their newly renovated building opening May 28, 2017. These images will be on view until 2019. For more information, click here

  • Register Now for the 2017 Art + Environment Conference Thursday, October 19 through Saturday, October 21, 2017. Join Lauren and other artists at the symposium as they discuss the Greater West. 

  • Lauren Bon and the Metabolic Studio will be participating in a panel titled Saving the Greater West as a part of the Knowledge/Culture/Ecologies International conference in Santiago, Chile November 15-18, 2017. For more information click here.

  • Friday Happy Hours at the Gertrude Stein Salon—now open for visitors on Main Street in Lone Pine on Fridays with tea from 6:00-8:00 pm. The Salon is open for groups, meetings, visits by appointment by calling 800-571-0745.

  • Upcoming Summer of 2018A Portable Wetland exhibition at Various Small Fires. Stay tuned for more details.


  • For a limited time, watch the One Hundred Mules Walking the Los Angeles Aqueduct (Artist Cut, 2015) at this link.
    Review our News Archive to see where this film has screened in the last year as well as the awards it has received.


  • View the Optics Division Collection Here.